Roberta (Balkcom) O’Keefe, 75, of North Smithfield, RI, passed away peacefully on November 7, 2018, with her family by her side. Born in Riverside, RI, she was devoted to her family and met her beloved husband, Frank O’Keefe, when he accompanied her brother home while they were both on leave from the Coast Guard. She always said she knew he was “the one” from the very first moment they met. They were married for 57 years.
Roberta was an avid crocheter, dressing her daughters in matching homemade outfits when they were in grade school. Over the years, she generously created the most beautiful afghans and clothing items for family members and friends. Roberta loved nature and animals, and could often be found tending to her flower gardens or sitting on her outdoor glider swing and watching the birds, rabbits, chipmunks and other wildlife that made that made their home in her back yard and pond. She was a volunteer at the North Smithfield Animal Shelter, and when her children left the nest, she doted on the several cats that she had adopted over the years, including Lily who was with her until the end. Her children and grandchildren will always remember how they could talk to her about anything, knowing she would share the best advice.
In addition to her husband, Frank, Roberta is survived by two daughters, Donna Ouellette and her partner Jonathan Weitzner of Cranston, RI, and Tammy O’Keefe of Thompson, CT; two sons, Kevin O’Keefe and his wife Rhonda of Millville, MA, and Timothy O’Keefe of Brooklyn, NY. She also leaves behind a brother, Ronald Balkcom of Auburndale, FL; two sisters, Virginia Pacifico of Riverside, RI, and Nancy Todd of East Providence, RI; and three grandchildren, Jessica Ouellette and her partner Brady Frost of Portland, ME, Kenneth Ouellette and his partner Marinieves Del Valle of Northbridge, MA, and Aidan O’Keefe of Millville, MA. She was predeceased by her beloved mother and father, Bertha and Ronald Balkcom, and her sister Sandra Balkcom.
Her funeral will be held Monday, November 12, 2018 beginning with visitation at 3 PM followed by a service at 5 PM in the Holt Funeral Home, 510 South Main St., Woonsocket, RI. Burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly asks that donations in Roberta’s memory be made to the Rhode Island SPCA at www.rispca.com or PACE Organization of Rhode Island at https://pace-ri.org/ways-to-give/.